School Choice Policies

Charter School Choice

Does the state have charter schools?


Texas has three types of charter schools:

  1. Home-rule school district charters
  2. Campus or campus program charters
  3. Open-enrollment charters

Texas Education Code Chapter 12: Charters

Are for-profit charter schools or management companies allowed?


"The commissioner may grant a charter on the application of an eligible entity for an open-enrollment charter school to operate in a facility of a commercial or nonprofit entity, an eligible entity, or a school district, including a home-rule school district..."eligible entity" means:
(1) an institution of higher education as defined under Section 61.003;
(2) a private or independent institution of higher education as defined under Section 61.003;
(3) an organization that is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3), Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. Section 501(c)(3)); or
(4) a governmental entity."

It is unclear whether a charter management company may be for-profit: "'Management company' means a person, other than a charter holder, who provides management services for an open-enrollment charter school."

12.101(a) Authorization

12.1012(5) Definitions

Is there a cap on the number of charter schools?


There is a limit on the number of new open enrollment charters that may be allowed, with the number increasing each year until 2018. Beginning in 2019 there will be a cap of 305 new open enrollment charters approved per year. Does not apply to open-enrollment charter schools primarily serving students with a disability or to University Charter Schools.

12.101(b-1) & (b-2) Authorization

Are charters required to provide transportation for any students?


An open-enrollment charter school shall provide transportation to each student attending the school to the same extent a school district is required by law to provide transportation to district students.

A home-rule school district is subject to the same transportation safety policies as regular school districts under Sections 34.002, 34.003, 34.004, 34.008.

Not addressed for other types of charter schools.

12.109 Transportation
12.013 (b)(3)(L)

Can charter schools employ uncertified teachers?


Bilingual education teachers at Campus or Campus Program Charters & open-enrollment charter schools are subject to rules on Bilingual education under Subchapter B, Chapter 29 which states that bilingual teachers must have proper certifications. Special education teachers must have proper certification.

Teachers in home-rule district charter schools must be certified. A home-rule school district is subject to provisions on teacher certification under Chapter 21.

12.013(b)(3)(B) Applicability of Title
12.056(b)(2)(D - E) Applicability of Title

12.104(b)(2)(F - G) Applicability of Title

Virtual School Choice

Do state statutes allow for full-time virtual schools?


Texas statutes outline provisions for the state virtual school network.

"A student is eligible to enroll full-time in courses provided through the state virtual school network only if the student:

  1. was enrolled in a public school in this state in the preceding school year;
  2. is a dependent of a member of the United States military who has been deployed or transferred to this state and was enrolled in a publicly funded school outside of this state in the preceding school year; or
  3. has been placed in substitute care in this state, regardless of whether the student was enrolled in a public school in this state in the preceding school year."

Texas Education Code Ann. Chapter 30A.002(b) Student Eligibility

Are virtual schools required to track attendance?


"The commissioner by rule shall adopt procedures for reporting and verifying the attendance of a student enrolled in an electronic course provided through the state virtual school network."

Texas Education Code Ann. 30A.109

Do virtual schools have to comply with state teacher certification requirements?


However, electronic course teachers have additional requirements:
"Each teacher of an electronic course offered by a school district or open-enrollment charter school through the state virtual school network must:
(1) be certified under Subchapter B, Chapter 21, to teach that course and grade level; and
(2) successfully complete the appropriate professional development course provided under Section 30A.112(a) or 30A.1121 before teaching an electronic course offered through the network."

Texas Education Code Ann. 30A.111(a)(1-2) Teacher and instructor qualifications

Private School Choice

Does the state have voucher programs?


No voucher programs found.

EdChoice School Choice in America

Does the state have educational expense tuition tax credits or deductions?


No educational expense tax credits or deductions found.

EdChoice School Choice in America

Can students use vouchers to attend religious schools?

Not Applicable

Is there a cap on the number of students or private schools participating in voucher programs?

Not Applicable

Are voucher students in private schools required to take any standardized tests?

Not Applicable

Can private schools be removed from voucher programs based on performance?

Not Applicable

Are private schools in voucher programs required to provide transportation?

Not Applicable

Interdistrict School Choice

Does the state have interdistrict choice programs?


An eligible student may attend a public school in the district in which the student resides or may use a public education grant to attend any other district chosen by the student's parent.

"The boards of trustees of two or more adjoining school districts or the boards of county school trustees of two or more adjoining counties may, by agreement and in accordance with Sections 25.032, 25.033, and 25.034, arrange for the transfer and assignment of any student from the jurisdiction of one board to that of another. In the case of the transfer and assignment of a student under this section, the participating governing boards shall also agree to the transfer of school funds or other payments proportionate to the transfer of attendance."

Texas Education Code Ann. 29.201 Parental Choice
Texas Education Code Ann. 25.035 Transfers Between Districts or Counties

Are receiving schools or districts required to provide transportation to any students?


"The school district in which a student resides shall provide each student attending a school in another district under this subchapter transportation free of charge to and from the school the student would otherwise attend."

Texas Education Code Ann. 29.203(f) financing

Page last updated: December 2020

Click here to download the State Policy Spreadsheet. Click here to download the State Policy Map Data Memo.

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The State Policy Map provides a snapshot of school choice policy found in laws passed by the legislative bodies, for all 50 states and Washington, D.C., based on information gathered from state statutes in fall 2019; data checks continued through December 2020. Information on this site may not include the most up-to-date policy information. The State Policy Map does not systematically reflect state Department of Education administrative policies, rules, or regulations. All content on this site is provided for informational purposes only. Links to third-party websites are for the user’s convenience; neither REACH nor any affiliated entities endorse the contents of third-party sites.

Note: On June 30, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Montana's exclusion of religious schools from the state's tax credit scholarship program was unconstitutional (Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue 591). The responses to the question "Can students use vouchers to attend religious schools?" were collected before this ruling and therefore do not reflect any changes resulting from the Espinoza decision.